Paving crews were out on Wednesday putting down asphalt on the last section of trail for walking and biking on the west side of Van Wert. The trail connects Richey Rd. and John Brown Rd. and crosses U.S. 224 south of Lincoln Hwy. The last 1/4-mile section of the 2.5 mile trail was the focus this week. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)
Paving crews were out on Wednesday putting down asphalt on the last section of trail for walking and biking on the west side of Van Wert. The trail connects Richey Rd. and John Brown Rd. and crosses U.S. 224 south of Lincoln Hwy. The last 1/4-mile section of the 2.5 mile trail was the focus this week. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT —The two ends of a biking/walking trail will soon be connected. The exercise trail, approximately 2.5 miles in length, extends from just east of John Brown Rd. to Richey Rd.

“They are finishing up the paving now, then there will still be a few finishing touches yet to go,” reported Van Wert County Parks District Commissioner Larry Webb. Webb, along with Bill Swank and Pat Ryan have been spearheading the effort to install and complete the project.

Two stages have already been completed. The first was created around five years ago, with one end coming out at a parking area along Richey Rd., just north of Old Tile Factory Rd. It winds its way to U.S. 224. Phase Two was completed two years ago. It connects U.S. 224 with John Brown Rd. with access to Smiley Park and the soccer fields at the Rotary Athletic Complex. The third phase is the quarter-mile section that crosses U.S. 224.



The safety question is being addressed with rumble strips on each side of the intersection and with signage along U.S. 224. Webb noted that signage will also be placed along the trail as it approaches the intersection. Other possible solutions, like a tunnel under the road or an overpass, were deemed to be ineffective due to potential flooding in that area and cost constraints.

Land for the trail belongs to the Van Wert County Parks District. Some of that land has been leased by the district while other parts were purchased. According to Webb, of the total outlay for the trail, around 80 percent was received through state grants with the remainder of the funds being raised locally.

Once completed and opened, the trail will be open to any non-motorized vehicle, like a bicycle, skateboard, roller blades or scooters. The trail also makes an ideal route for joggers and walkers.